Thursday, June 20, 2024

House bill on ‘No Call and No Text Registry’ hurdles 2nd reading

The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill 7321, which seeks to establish the “No Call and No Text Registration System? and penalize its violators.

The bill, principally authored by Cavite Rep. Francis Gerald Abaya, prohibits unwanted calls and texts, including other forms of solicitation.

The bill refers to “No Call Register” as the listing of Philippine telephone numbers to which a specified voice call shall not be made. It also refers to “No Text Register” as the listing of local telephone numbers to which a specified text message shall not be sent.

Meanwhile, unsolicited call or text refers to a call or text message which is not initiated by the recipient of the call or message such as upselling, surveys, awarding of a prize when the recipient did not join or subscribe to any game or activity, or solicitation by any non-profit and charitable institution, whether or not the call or text message induces the purchase of goods or services.

The bill mandates that commercial or promotional advertisements, or push messages, may only be sent to a subscriber who has given prior consent or has specifically opted-in to receive such messages without additional cost.

Advertisements and messages must contain an accurate description of the message, identity and contact number of the telco who sent or caused to send the message.

Under the measure, telcos shall provide a mechanism for subscribers to opt out any time from the broadcast messaging service at no cost to the subscriber or recipient and must enable them to indicate the decision not to receive any commercial or promotional advertisement or push message from the telcos.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) is mandated to strictly enforce the “No Call and No Text Register” system by keeping the identity of persons registered highly confidential and that only the telephone numbers of registered persons may be accessed from the registers.

In order to register in the system, a subscriber must present a government identification card and proof of exclusive ownership over a particular telephone number upon payment of a fee that will be determined by the NPC, and shall be valid for one year, subject to renewal.

Registration of mobile numbers of a subscriber below 18 years old may be done by their parents or legal guardian. Telephone numbers listed in the “No Call and No Text Registers” shall not be changed nor removed except upon the request of the owner in writing.

A person whose number is not registered in the “No Call and No Text Registers” may manage and limit outbound and unsolicited calls or text messaging through the negative option feature.

The proposed law also says that it shall be the responsibility of any caller or sender to register and get information on the numbers which are registered in the “No Call and No Text Registers”.

Possession of a certified true copy of the registers prior to the date the call is made or text message is sent shall be considered prima facie evidence of knowledge on the part of the caller or sender.

Any caller or sender who calls or sends a text message to a subscriber who is in the “No Call and No Text Registers” shall be fined for each call and text. A fine of P50,000 to P100,000 shall be imposed on a juridical and natural person for each violation.

Non-registration of the caller or sender as required under the measure shall be considered a violation of the Act. Telcos who shall be found liable in providing access to subscribers’ numbers to any commercial or marketing agencies without the latter’s consent shall be penalized.


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